(24 November 1952 - 26 December 1994 / Karachi / Pakistan)

It Has Been Written

". . . then Zaid cursed Bakar, ‘Your mother
is more well known than your father!' "

My son,
this curse is your fate too.
In a fathers' world you too, one day,
must pay a heavy price
for being known by your mother,
though your eyes' color, your brow's expanse,
and all the curves your lips create
come from the man
who shared with me in your birth,
yet alone gives you significance
in the eyes of the law-givers.

But the tree that nurtured you three seasons
must claim one season as its own,
to comb the stars, turn thoughts into perfumes,
make poems leapfrog your ancestors' walls
a season that Mira couldn't send away,
nor could Sappho.

Now it must be this family's fate
that you should frequently feel abashed
before your playmates, and that your father
must grin and bear it among his friends.

The name on the doorbell means nothing;
the world knows you by one name alone.

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